Most strokes happen when blood flow to the brain is interrupted or reduced and sections of the brain are damaged – once a stroke begins brain cells will start to die within minutes. Because your brain is responsible for controlling the majority of your bodily functions, parts of your body are likely to be affected by a stroke. What is affected depends on what section of the brain is losing blood and being damaged in the process.

Recognising the signs of a stroke and getting emergency medical help as soon as possible makes a huge difference in preventing long-term disabilities, brain damage, or even death. If you think anyone might be having a stroke, it’s important to act F.A.S.T

Face

A common sign of a stroke is sudden numbness or weakness on one side of the face. This often causes one side of the face to droop. If you think someone might be having a stroke, ask the person to smile, and notice if one side of the face seems to droop or appears to be uneven. The person who is having a stroke may also start having trouble seeing or experience blurred vision in one or both eyes.

Arm

A person suffering from a stroke may suddenly have trouble walking or experience loss of balance or co-ordination due to numbness or weakness, especially on one side of the body. Ask them to try raise both arms out in front of them. If one arm drops down or is too weak to lift this may be a sign that they’re having a stroke.

Speech

The person may have trouble speaking or understanding what’s being said to them. They may slur their words or their speech may be completely incomprehensible. Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence, like “there are seven days in a week”. If they have any speech abnormalities or have difficulty understanding your instruction, this could be an indication that the person is having a stroke.

Time

If a person is showing one or more of the above symptoms call for help and get them to a hospital immediately. You may be reluctant to call for emergency assistance if you aren’t sure if someone’s having a stroke, but acting fast is crucial. Don’t wait and see; generally those treated within four hours have a higher chance of minimising disabilities and making a recovery. Along with helping to rehabilitate those who have suffered a stroke, it’s Phila Sonke Wellness Initiative’s mission to help educate as many people as possible on stroke prevention and awareness. To find out more contact us.

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